Christianity and history are inherently intertwined. Both attest to the strengths and weaknesses of people along with the growth or lack thereof that time provides. History can be severed into various facets, including: Ecclesiastical History, Ancient History, Biblical History, Modern History, and more. Despite these categories, history in itself is a unifying force as its various angles jointly compose ascending stories that build an overarching image of life.
The historian, John Lukacs, proposed that “History is about human beings.” Individuals making decisions throughout their own lives naturally affected the world around them and even our own world today. Even biblically, one can perceive the choices that individuals made in the Bible could have led to different outcomes. Had Abraham not listened to God and left his homeland of Ur, the Israelites may have not settled in the Promised Land. Had David not chosen to face Goliath, one could propose that he may not have later become King of Israel. Had Esther not confronted the King and Haman, one could see where the eradication of the Israelites could have occurred. In every biblical character’s life, one can see the opposite outcome had each one not chosen the course of action that each one did. The same can be said for those holy men and women of the Catholic Church who have earned the crown of sainthood. Historians can look back and see God’s hand at work in these instances, while also seeing man’s free will.
Lukacs emphasized that history is about analyzing actions, choices, individuals, and groups. From ancient times and beyond, people have been making decisions for good, evil, and oftentimes in-between. For lovers of history, it is important to approach the subject from the people’s eyes. Comprehension of who these individuals were and where they came from allows us to see these men and women as they were. As Christians, we are taught that Christ viewed all who came before Him as they were. This idea follows the Biblical teaching found in Genesis 1:27, “So God created humankind in His image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” We are all made in the image and likeness of God, so it is the history lover’s duty to understand this, emphasize this, and portray the true remembered individual and how his or her influence shaped history.
Where is God in all of this if history is so human focused? History in itself is a form of architecture. God, all three persons in the Holy Trinity, is the Designer and Architect. We humans are the engineers, consultants, and construction workers building up His design by our thoughts, words, and actions. We are individuals building communities, nations, and the world. Through our life stories as Christians, we are called to be living cathedrals pointing towards Heaven, so our soul and others’ souls can one day ascend towards Heaven like a church steeple. In examining those people who have preceded us, we can better understand how they constructed history in their own lives, communities, nations, and even in the world, as they were.